What To See With Val: QUEENPINS, The Card Counter and Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror


Rated R

QUEENPINS is a ridiculous comedy about a bored suburban homemaker, Connie (Kristen Bell) who is married to and uninteresting auditor played by Joel McHale. She used to be an Olympic Speed Walker and lives her life looking for wins. Her and her husband tried to get pregnant with no success and she turned to couponing, where Everyday in the grocery store can be a win.  Her BFF JoJo (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), a vlogger with dreams, is trying to get out of debt and turn her life around after someone stole her identity and ruined her credit.  Together they turn a hobby into a multi-million-dollar illegal business by selling stolen coupons. Also in the picture is a Loss Prevention Office played by Paul Walter Hauser. He takes couponing and counterfeit couponing to the next level. When he can’t figure out who is causing all of the couponing problems, he gets the help from a U.S. Postal Inspector played by Vince Vaughn. 

These two regular ladies go from sad and broke couponing mavens to multimillionaires in what seems like weeks, and they do everything wrong with the money they are illegally making. I know that we go to movies because we want to be entertained and we don’t want real life, however this is almost too ridiculous. The ironic thing is that this is based on a true story, but with a handful of good laughs and a few nuggets of fun, this movie falls flat. I think this movie had some great potential, but the bad writing hurt the great cast they were able to get.  I have to say something about the really bad production value, there are moments where you just laugh at the bad greenscreen shots. It is defiantly a free movie that’s on TV watch. No need to rush to the theatre or rent this one. Entertaining but not groundbreaking. 

Grade: C


The Card Counter

Rated R

Oscar Isaac brings chills to our lives as he tries to get redemption in The Card Counter. This is a revenge thriller that tells the story of an ex-military interrogator turned card player. The ghosts of his past decisions keep us guessing on where this movie might go.  The cast led by Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan and Willem Dafoe.is an odd and fantastic match up. This is probably the best performance I have seen of Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish. When you go through something so horrific in your life and you where the villain in your story, you turn to thinks that can keep you on course and that is what William (Oscar Isaac) does with cards. He plays every day, all day long and it seems to keep him pulled together as much as he can be after what he has done. He keeps a pretty low profile until he meets up with Cirk (Tye Sheridan). Cirk is a young kid out for revenge and William wants to help guide him in a different direction. This story is important and something most of us have not thought about when it comes to our soldiers and what they have had to go through during war This will not be a big audience pleaser, it is a slow burn of a movie. The director makes us feel uncomfortable and for a good reason. If you can take time to sit through it and try and see through the eyes of William you will appreciate this film.

Grade:  B+ 


Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror (Netflix)

I think we can all remember where we were on September 11, 2001, when we heard what was happening in New York City. This documentary does not hold back about the events of 9/11. It walks us chronologically through the events of Sept. 11, 2001, with interviews from administration officials, ex-CIA members, U.S. veterans, Afghanistan National Army soldiers, Taliban commanders, Afghan government officials, Afghan warlords, Afghan civilians and survivors. In the 5 episodes you will see and feel everything. Hearing intimate stories from some of the key helpers and survivors of 9/11 makes it even more real for those of us that only experienced the event through the media.  It is heartbreakingly graphic but so important to remembering what happened on that day in history. Take your time, I watched it over a few days. It is an informative and important story told with respect and heart. 

Grade: A-



Reviews by Val Cameron


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